Toddler and Pre-school Theme Days


Many Shapes Day


Having a Shapes Theme Day is a fun way to review the basics shapes with your pre-schooler as well as introduce him/her to other shapes.

I found it best to have separate theme days of the four basic shapes (circle, square, triangle and rectangle) before having this theme day.

Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.



You could sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to review the shape of a diamond and star. 

Many DVD’s (see below) offer songs about shapes plus there are many children’s CD’s with songs about shapes, too (check your local library or your own collection).




There are many coloring pages to be found online just by searching “Shapes coloring page” or print out my Lots of Shapes Colouring Page.



Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about shapes.


Go to the library with your child to find some books on about shapes.


Go to the library on your own to find books on shapes to have already on hand for your theme day.  Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (type in “Shapes” under Children’s Books).  Reserve them if you can to save time.


Try to find some of these titles to review the shapes:


· Baby Einstein: My First Book of Shapes, Concept by Julie Aigner-Clark and illustrations by Nadeem Zaidi, Hyperion Books for Children, 2007 – This large board book with rhyming text offers photographs and drawn illustrations along with a number of questions posed on each shape for your child to answer as you study the book together.


· Mouse Shapes, by Ellen Stoll Walsh, Harcourt Inc., 2007 – Three mice running away from a cat hide in a pile of shapes and then proceed to make different things with the shapes.


· Sea Shapes, by Suse MacDonald, Gulliver Books, 1994 – Great collage art illustrates each shape as it morphs into a sea animal (a circle becomes a whales eye, a triangle becomes a sharks tooth, an oval becomes an octopus etc.).


· Ship Shape, written by Stella Blackstone and illustrated by Siobhan Bell, Barefoot Books, 2006 – This is a great book to test your child’s knowledge of the shapes as it asks the reader what shapes are found on each page without prompting.  The illustrations are beautiful cotton stitched underwater and sea pictures.


· Spot’s Colors, Shapes and Numbers, by Eric Hill, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2007 – Spot the puppy reviews colors shapes and numbers on this large board book.



For something different try some of these titles:


· A Star in My Orange: Looking for Nature’s Shapes, by Dana Meachen Rau, The milbrook Press, 2002 – Photographs of various things in nature like an orange slice, star fish, snowflake etc. highlight other shapes like stars, branches, hexagons, and curls.



For older siblings try this title to investigate shapes further:


·  Exploring Shapes with Easy-to-make Projects for Fun Math Games, by Andrew king and illustrated by Tony Kenyon, Copper Beech Books,  1998 – School aged kids might like the projects in this book that extend their understanding of shapes by looking at such things as tessellations (when shapes fit together), three dimensional figures, polygons, and tangrams.


· Shape Up! Fun With Triangles and Other Polygons, by David A. Adler and illustrated by Nancy Tabin, Holiday House, 1998 – Again, this one isn’t for pre-schoolers as it is more complex in its dealings with shapes (isosceles vs. obtuse triangles for instance) but it would be a fun book to review geometry with grade schoolers.





Materials: Shape stickers or foam stickers or paper cut outs of shapes, coloured paper, glue stick, and a face cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: Let your child choose what colour paper he/she wants for the background.

Step 2: Give your child the stickers or cut outs and let him/her stick or glue them to the coloured paper in any design or manner.




Materials: Crayons and markers, coloured paper, child-safe scissors, glue stick, my Many Shapes Colouring Page, face cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: Sit with your child as he/she colours each shape on the colouring page, reviewing the name of each shape.

Step 2: Help your child cut out the individual shapes.

Step 3: Have your child pick the colour of paper he/she wants to use (you’ll need two pages).

Step 4: Fold each sheet of coloured paper into three parts (as if you were going to put it in an envelope) and cut it along the folds to make long rectangles.

Step 5: Fold each of these cut pieces in half and cut along the folds to make ten smaller pieces of paper.

Step 6: Have your child apply glue to each coloured picture and glue each one to a separate sheet of small paper.

Step 7: Help your child staple the sheets of paper together to make a little book.

Step 8: Read the book together to review the shapes.




Materials: Coloured paper, child-safe scissors, glue-stick, yarn, popsicle sticks (or craft sticks), face cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: Draw shapes on coloured paper for your child (or have your child draw them if he/she is old enough and capable enough to do so). HINT: You could also use two copies of the Many Shapes Colouring Page coloured.

Step 2: Place coloured paper on top of another sheet of coloured paper (can be a different colour).

Step 3: Carefully cut out each shape by holding the sheets of paper together (that way you end up cutting out two identical sized shapes).  This step is good for an adult.

Step 4: Cut yarn into various lengths.

Step 5: Have your child apply glue to one side of each shape.

Step 6: Show your child how to lay the end of a piece of yarn on the glue and cover with the matching shape to sandwich the yarn between paper. Do this with each shape.

Step 7: Wrap pipe cleaners around two popsicle sticks to form a cross.

Step 8: When each shape is dry with yarn hanging out, tie the other end of the yarn to the popsicle sticks in various spots.

Step 9: Attach one final piece of strip to the middle of the popsicle cross and form a loop to hang the mobile.






Crackers: If you’ve done the previous shape theme days you’ll have a good collection of shaped crackers to choose from.


Cheese: Cheddar or other firm cheeses can be easily cut into a number of shapes either by hand or with small baking cut-outs.


Vegetables: Most veggies can be cut into circles quite easily (carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes...) for a healthy snack.


A hardboiled egg makes a nice oval snack.



Shaped sandwiches: Use cookie cutters to cut bread into various shapes.  Spread or top with your child’s favourite toppings.

Vegetable soup: various vegetables make different shapes when cut (carrots are circles, celery looks like crescents).



Pasta: Try to find different shapes and boil them up together to make an interesting pasta mix.



Cut-out Sugar Cookies: During the morning make cookie dough together (search online for a recipe) and refrigerate the dough for later use.  Then in the early afternoon roll out the dough and use various shaped cookie cutters to create shape cookies.  If you want you can later decorate them buy using coloured icing (milk, icing sugar and food colouring) to paint the cookies.

NOTE: I couldn’t find shape cookie cutters so we used our shape sorting toys (cleaned in soapy water first) to make cute little cookies of various shapes and to make larger shapes I also just used a knife to cut out simple shapes like triangles, squares and rectangles.




If you have a set of shape flashcards (found in most bookstores, educational stores, even dollar or craft stores on occasion) use them to review the shapes. 

NOTE: Flashcards are easy to make if you have index cards.  Print out my Shapes Flash Card Template and cut the shapes out to paste to index cards OR draw your own shapes on index cards.



If it’s a sunny day, take your child outside and draw different shapes on the sidewalk or your drive way using sidewalk chalk.



Using string, popsicle sticks, toothpicks or pretzels work together to make many shapes (use your child’s booklet or colouring page as a reference).



Materials: Cut outs of a square, a circle, a triangle, a rectangle, and an oval, a pen, glue stick, print out of the Shape Hunt worksheet, old magazines (Optional).


Step 1: Explain to your child that you are both on a hunt for five different shapes.

Step 2: Walk around the house and/ or outside to look for things that match each shape on the worksheet.

Step 3: When your child finds something that matches the shape, you will write the name of the object on a slip of matching paper and your child will stick the shape on the chart in the appropriate column.

Step 4: At the end of the hunt sit down and count out loud together how many rectangle things you both found.  Review what you found by reading the chart out loud.




Step 1: Explain to your child that you are hunting for shapes by looking through a magazine.

Step 2: Look through old magazines together and cut out any pictures that are circles, squares, triangles, rectangles or ovals.

Step 3: Have your child glue the pictures in the appropriate column on the worksheet.




Draw large shapes on the sidewalk or driveway (or at the park) and play a game where you call out the shape and your child has to run and hop on the shape.  This works great with more than one child as well.


Materials: Print out a copy of my Shapes Memory Game, crayons or markers, coloured paper, glue-stick, scissors (for adult use only), face cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: Let your child colour the shapes on the Shapes Memory Game worksheet with crayons or markers.

Step 2: Have your child pick a colour to glue the worksheet on to.

Step 3: Help your child apply glue to the back of the worksheet and paste the sheet to a piece of coloured paper.

Step 4: Carefully cut the squares out making 20 cards.



Step 1: Mix the cards up face down.

Step 2: Place the cards (still face down) in a number of rows.

Step 3: Youngest player goes first and gets to flip over two cards.  If the shapes match that player gets to keep the cards.

Step 4: The next player then goes and turns over two cards, keeping any pairs.

Step 5: Continue to take turns until all the cards are flipped over.

Step 6: The winner is the one with the most cards.


HINT: For younger players play as a team to find matches together.


CHALLENGE: Print out my Additional Shapes Memory Game to add more cards to the game to make it more challenging.



Print out my Shape Dominoes Pages and play a game of dominoes by matching shapes together.


Materials: Shape Dominoes Page, markers or crayons (optional), scissors, coloured paper, glue-stick, face cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: If your child wants to, colour each shape on the print outs (there are a lot of them so you may not want to do that).

Step 2: Glue each sheet to a sheet of coloured paper.

Step 3: Cut on the solid lines to create 55 dominos.



Step 1: Place all the dominoes face down on the table or floor.

Step 2: Each player draws 5 dominos.

Step 3: The remaining dominos stay face down as the draw pile.

Step 4: The youngest player starts the game by picking a domino from the draw pile and placing it in the centre of the play area.

Step 5: The youngest player checks the dominos in his/her hand for a shape that matches either end of the domino placed face up in the centre of the playing area.  If he/she has one, he/she places it on the table or floor, with the matching pictures touching.

Step 6: If the youngest player has no matching shapes he/she then draws a domino from the draw pile. He/she continues to draw until he/she picks a domino that can be played (a match).

Step 7: The next player checks his/her hand for a domino that matches the shape on either end of the dominos that have been played.  If he/she cannot play, he/she draws a domino from the draw pile until a domino is found that can be played on the ends of the played dominos.

Step 8: The game continues in this manner until one player has use all his/her dominos. 


Optional Step 9: If you want to play for points when one player has used all his/her dominos the other players count the dominoes remaining in their hands and the winner is awarded that many points.  Keep score for as many rounds as you have time to play.




Double dominos (those with the same shape twice) are played by turning the domino sideways to lay it on the playing area.  One successive turns, a domino can be played in three directions from this double domino.


If you get close to the end of the table or floor area where you are playing, turn a corner as you place your domino.




Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with the theme of teaching shapes.


Try to find some of these titles to review the shapes:


· Baby Einstein: Baby Newton – All about Shapes, Baby Einstein Company, Walt Disney Home Video, 2002—with puppets, computer animated crayons and a clown made of shapes, plus videos of various toys and nature etc. to illustrate five basic shapes, this DVD is a great learning tool.  It uses classical music plus a catchy song about shapes as well.


· Baby Einstein: Discovering Shapes Circles, Squares and More – Baby Einstein Company, Walt Disney Home Video, 2007—This one focuses on circles, ovals, triangles, squares and rectangles without the computer animated feature of the first one, but has more puppets and video clips of various toys and nature etc.. This has great added features for more interactive learning with your child.

· Blue’s Clues: Shapes and Colors, Viacom International Inc, 2003—Blue the dog and Joe go on a shape search while playing Blue’s Clues.

· Brainy Baby: Shapes and Colors, The Brainy Baby Company, LLC, 2002 This DVD uses classical music, original songs about the shapes, live action clips of children with shapes (of various ages) and of toys, plus a few computer animated things as well (Highlights 12 shapes: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, star, heart, oval, diamond, crescent, pentagon, hexagon and octagon).

· Sesame Street: Guess That Shape and Color, Sesame workshop, 2006—Elmo and Zoe and other friends on Sesame Street have fun with shape guessing games and searches .



Foam Sticker Collage

Shape Sticker Collage

Crackers come in many shapes

Shape Cookies

Make a shape using string or pretzels

Shapes Dominoes Game

Shape sorting toys are good for reviewing the shapes with your child.

Photo: C Wright

Shape Hunts